It seems the "talk of the town" this week is about the man in Hawley who apparently ingested bath salts and then assaulted four people.
The story is very sad in so many ways.
The most important thing is the victims are all going to be all right. The situation could have been much worse and thanks to quick action on the part of several people, it was not.
Another component of this situation, however, is the drug use itself. Too many times in our society all we want to do is point the figure at people and say lock them up and throw away the key.
Certainly, this person should receive proper punishment. That is the right thing to do.
But this person also needs serious help.
Drug addiction can't be solved by tossing people behind bars and not helping them with the problem. It's a serious problem and addictions are not easy to break.
Banning bath salts should take place and it has been banned in most places. However, addicts are going to find a way to get their drugs.
Drug suppliers will always find a way to get drugs to their clients. In some cases, when one drug is banned, they will come up with something new and prey on victims.
That's why curbing addiction is so important.
In this country, the prison population has exploded over the past two decades. Mandatory sentencings have filled the prisons but the funding is not in place to have proper treatment programs.
Simply tossing someone in a cell and telling them to dry out on their own does not work. Once out, many addicts will go right back to their old habits and then end up right back in jail.
The solution to this problem, however, doesn't seem to exist. With so many people behind bars, just getting basic funding is becoming more difficult. Having more addiction programs is out of the question in this economic environment.
Part of the solution might be taking a realistic approach as to who should be locked up and who should be in treatment programs.
Some critics of this approach say it will never work but there are many programs around the country which have very high success rates when it comes to rehabilitation. There just isn't enough funding to put everyone through these programs.
Whatever the solution is, this is an issue which needs to be addressed. Sadly, in the current political climate, it just won't happen. It's an issue which people don't want to discuss because those who are suffering are out of sight and out of mind.
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